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Cancer Lett. 2007 Dec 8;258(1):22-30. Epub 2007 Sep 24.

Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus is not detected in human lung adenocarcinomas expressing antigens related to the Gag polyprotein of betaretroviruses.

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Departmento de Patología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, C/Miguel Servet 177, 50013, Zaragoza, Spain.


A proportion of human lung adenocarcinomas (hLACs) express an antigen related to the major capsid protein (CA) of Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV), a Betaretrovirus that causes a transmissible lung cancer in sheep. In this study, we have investigated whether JSRV or related betaretroviruses are expressed in hLACs. Results obtained indicate that JSRV is not associated with human lung adenocarcinomas. However, a proportion of hLACs reacted positively in immunohistochemistry with antibodies specific towards different domains of the JSRV Gag suggesting that a bona fide retrovirus antigen could be expressed in these tumours. Further studies will be necessary to ascertain whether the detection of antigens cross-reacting with betaretrovirus Gag antisera in some hLACs is due to expression of a human endogenous retrovirus or, more unlikely, of an uncharacterized exogenous retrovirus.

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